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Yet another biography on Sachin Tendulkar! But Vaibhav Purandhare's work has its own appeal


HE WAITED for 15 years to write, after having watched Sachin Tendulkar in a match that has become folklore on the maidans ofMumbai cricket. It must have been tough, yet enjoyable, and the product, A Definite Biography (Roli Books). The writer, Vaibhav Purandhare was in the rival team when Tendulkar, in the company of Vinod Kambli, gave early indications of his awesome potential during a school cricket match with an unbeaten innings of 326 in a world record stand. This biography has its roots in that momentous event.

Old acquaintance


"History unwittingly put me in this position. I was sitting in the tent and watching a world record being set against my school team. I developed interest in that thin boy. He was as thin as I was but I don't know where he got the power to pulverise the opposition. I was so fascinated by him that I followed his progress ever since," says Purandhare, who has come up with a delightfully written and meticulously researched biography of one of the greatest cricketers.

The biography provides a wonderful insight into the making of Sachin, tracing his early days with some rare anecdotes. The one that stands out is the prediction by one of the umpires in a school match, Gondhalekar, who was convinced that Sachin would one day bat for India. And the youngster was only in his first season of school cricket.

"I noticed that Sachin would get big scores. He would either get out for zero or smash the opposition. One fine day, I realised that the boy I saw many years ago had now become an icon and I thought I was privileged to write on him. It was an ideal time to do a biography that would put things in the right perspective. I was not very close to him but I was not very far either," says Purandhare.

The biography lays emphasis on analysis and is not just a statistical narration. It discusses Sachin's game, technique, and his evolution as a batsman next only to Sir Don Bradman. As Purandhare notes, "He came on the scene when the country was facing challenges on all fronts — socially, politically and economically. Sachin offered liberation. He made us feel good with his achievements. This book is an attempt to portray the aspects that make him such a fascinating human being."

Purandhare points out that Sachin is as human as anybody else, and yet there is so much that separates him from the rest. "He is not god. If he were a god, he would never have got those inside edges and outside edges. He would never have failed on the cricket field." The young player's failures and triumphs have been discussed in the right spirit in this biography. It is to PurandhSare's credit that he has interacted with Sachin's colleagues and extracted professional responses from each of them, making the critical analysis fair. As the 29-year-old writer points out, there have been 50-odd books on Bradman with something new to discover in each. "This effort of mine is to present the unknown side of Sachin Tendulkar." At the end of 415 pages of delightful reading, one is convinced that this indeed is "a definite biography of Sachin Tendulkar" and a worthy addition to your collection of quality cricket books.

VIJAY LOKAPALLY

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